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A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE TEANECK FIRE DEPARTMENT

Larry J. Robertson

The first known organized fire protection in Teaneck was provided by the Hackensack Township Protection Society, a part-paid, part-volunteer police organization which also provided organization and equipment for citizens to use in their own rudimentary fire defense.  Prior to 1888, the equipment consisted of leather buckets, ladders, lanterns and axes stored loose.  In 1871, Hackensack organized an engine company with a hand-drawn, hand-operated pumper.  They responded to what is now Teaneck, but with astronomical response times due to poor roads and steep hills.  The Englewood Fire Department also responded to nineteenth century fires in Teaneck, with similar response time problems. Both fire departments operated at the acetylene explosion and fire that destroyed the massive Phelps mansion at Cedar Lane and Teaneck Road on April 1, 1888.  They removed art treasures ahead of the main body of fire in the mansion and effectively protected the Phelps stables west of the main fire building.  One Hackensack volunteer firefighter was injured in a fall from a ladder at the stables.

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